The Science of Happiness Course

The Science of Happiness is our flagship online course that explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives.

Since it first launched in September of 2014, The Science of Happiness has been hugely popular: It is one of the top 10 courses on the edX platform, where it is hosted; more than 550,000 students have registered for it so far; and students who complete the course report significant increases in their happiness and decreases in their levels of stress and loneliness.

“This is the most useful course I have ever taken,” said one student. “The materials that were offered in this course completely changed my perspective towards life.”

Register now to experience the Science of Happiness for yourself!

The Science of Happiness is led by two celebrated teachers from the Greater Good Science Center: Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., the GGSC’s science director, and GGSC founder Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., who is a psychology professor at UC Berkeley and author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good.

It zeroes in on a core finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to strong social ties and contributing to something bigger than yourself. Students learn about the varied research supporting this view and gain practical, research-based strategies for nurturing their own happiness. And it works: Previous participants have reported significant increases in happiness and life satisfaction and decreases in stress.

The course is divided into eight one-week segments featuring short videos by the instructors and guest lectures from other experts, including Sonja Lyubomirsky, Barbara Fredrickson, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. It also includes readings that make the science accessible and understandable, along with weekly “happiness practices” that students can try on their own. There is an additional week in the middle of the course for a midterm and a week at the end for a final exam.

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Here are some ways you can enhance your experience taking The Science of Happiness:

Continuing Education

The Science of Happiness is approved for 16 CE credit hours for psychologists, therapists, social workers, OTs, counselors, nurses, and members of NIRSA. A shorter, introductory version is approved for 6 CE credit hours. Continuing Education for this course is co-sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars.

To earn CE credit hours for participating in this online course, you must:

1. Register for CE credit through the course’s continuing education co-sponsor, R. Cassidy Seminars (RCS), paying for either 16 CE credit hours or 6 CE credit hours. When you register for CE credit, you will create a login through the RCS website.

2. Follow this link to register separately for The Science of Happiness on edX, the platform that hosts the course. You can choose the “Audit This Course (No Certificate)” or Verified registration option. You do not need to register for a Verified Certificate, which does not provide CE credits, to earn CE credits. But, registering for the Verified Track gives you access to Problem Sets and Exams which are good preparation for CE evaluations, and a certificate of proof that you completed the course (for non-CE purposes).

3.Complete a self-test measuring your understanding of the course material. You can access the self-test through the R. Cassidy Seminars website any time after the course launches. You can answer test questions while you’re still taking the course or after you’ve completed the entire course, and you can stop the test at any time—you’ll just need to click the Submit Answers button before leaving the page. When you next log in, you will return to the page that follows your last submitted answers. A score of 75 percent is required to pass the test. Should you score less than 75 percent, you will have the opportunity to view your incorrect responses and retake the test immediately.

4. Once you pass the test, an evaluation form will come up on your screen. Please fill this out completely, as it is a requirement of each licensing board.

5. A continuing education certificate of completion will appear on your screen after you’ve passed the self-test and filled out the evaluation. We recommend that you print it for your records, though R. Cassidy Seminars does maintain a record of your course completion and your certificate in case you need it in the future.

For any questions related to continuing education credit for this course, email R. Cassidy Seminars staff at or call them at 888-992-9199.

Click the links below to learn more and register for the 16 or 6 CE version.

16 CE hours, $199

6 CE hours, $99

Course Approvals

Satisfactory Completion: Participants must have paid course fee, submitted signed verification statement, completed evaluation, and completed post-test with passing grade of 75% in order to receive a certificate. Failure to complete and submit these materials will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available.

Psychologists: R. Cassidy Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for this program.

Social Workers: R. Cassidy Seminars, ACE provider #1082, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. Approval Period:  April 15, 2015-April 15, 2018. R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for the program. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers will receive 6 or 16 continuing education (clinical, social work ethics) clock hours in participating in this course.
CA: (See ASWB above.)
OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board for 6 or 16 clock hours, #RCST110701.

NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation will offer 1.6 NIRSA Continuing Educaiton Units for the eight-week course. NIRSA Continuing Education Units can be applied toward application or renewal requirements for the NIRSA Registry of Collegiate Recreational Sports Professionals.

Counselors/Marriage and Family Therapists: IL: Illinois Dept of Professional Regulation, Approved Continuing Education Sponsor, #168-000141. 6 or 16 hours.
OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board for 6 or 16 clock hours, #RCST110701.
TX: Approved CE Sponsor through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists. Provider #151.

Chemical Dependency Counselors: Provider approved by NAADAC Approved Education Provider Program for 6 or 16 contact hours. Approval #000654.
CA: Provider approved by CAADAC, Provider #4N-00-434-0210 for 6 or 16 CEHs. CAADAC is an ICRC member which has reciprocity with most ICRC member states.
TX: Provider approved by the TCBAP Standards Committee, Provider No. 1749-06, 6 or 16 hours, expires 3/31/2017. Complaints about provider or workshop content may be directed to the TCBAP Standards Committee, 1005 Congress Avenue, Ste. 460, Austin, Texas 78701, Fax Number (512) 476-7297.

Nurses: CA: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CeP12224, for 6 or 16 contact hours.

Teachers/Educators: IL: Provider approved by the Illinois State Board of Certification #080304164719171.
TX: R. Cassidy Seminars is an approved provider with the Texas Education Agency CPE# 501456. This course is 6 or 16 CEHours.

Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often and while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.

Taking the Course as a Team

Why not take the class as a team, perhaps with friends or colleagues? Our Facilitator’s Guide can help you organize in-person meetings to coincide with the run of the course.

The guide provides week-by-week instructions for how to present key topics; addresses the most common questions students have; and helps you try out suggested exercises, activities, and practices from the course in a group setting.

Verified Track

Please note that you can explore most of The Science of Happiness for two and a half months for free—simply choose Audit This Course when you register. However, to access all course materials, upgrade to the Verified Track on edX for $169. As a Verified learner, you’ll have access to the full course for as long as the course is hosted on, and you will receive a certificate of completion when you finish.

If you plan to use your course for job applications, promotions, or school applications, you may prefer to have this verified certificate of completion. It’s also a great way to give yourself an incentive to complete the course and celebrate your success.